Saturday, 5 October 2013

British Infantry Brigade Berlin

BRITISH INFANTRY BRIGADE BERLIN

 

I have a penchant for ‘odd’ units/formations with the subjects I like to do, usually meaning lots of scratch building/research/head-scratching and usually extra work in the painting department just to to get a unit on the table!
I’ve always had an interest in the Berlin Brigade since seeing some grainy photos way back in the mid 80’s. The seed was planted; there would be a Berlin Brigade at some point on the table! Now 20mm would be the ideal scale, however nobody in my club was/is interested in 20mm modern at the moment and since I’m enjoying my micro at the moment I thought I would put together a Berlin Brigade force to assist my West Germans and counter my WARPAC stuff. As the brigade is quite small it will be bulked up with some green/black stuff also. 
I started these test pieces some time ago before the West Germans; however I did not finish them off before the West Germans. These are next on the table. This is a test base for the brigade HQ. Since I took these photos the aerials have been shortened! Better photos to follow.

The best (only) book on this subject is the Tankograd British Special No. 9001 - buy it!

So a little history......
The presence of the British Forces in Berlin dates back to the end of World War 2 when in July 1945 the 7th Armoured Division “The Desert Rats” was the first unit to enter Berlin. Arrangements were made for a four-power control of Berlin, the three western allies decided to scale down the size of their forces to a Bridge each. It was 1946 when the size of the British force was finalised; this would be three infantry battalions, one armoured regiment and various supporting elements. It was common practice to rotate British units in West-Berlin every 1-2 years. The armoured component (a reinforced squadron of 4 troops - 18 tanks) was supplied by an armoured unit already based in Germany; the other formations were rotated from various locations. The infantry battalions were down-scaled from mechanised to non-mechanised units with more wheeled than tracked vehicles.
The modern battlefield is changing rapidly; the opportunity to conceal forces from the opposing forces by means of camouflage is steadily declining. The sole purpose of camouflage is to hide ones equipment and personnel from the opposing force or at the very least disguise a piece of equipments true purpose, normally this is done by attempting to blend in with the background. Attempting to camouflage vehicles in the urban environment is somewhat more problematic, the British forces in Berlin were expected to operate not only in open terrain but in the streets of the city. It had been noted that camouflaged equipment when operating in built-up areas was rather more noticeable due to the camouflage scheme being ‘alien’ within that environment and more noticeable. During my days of humping ‘heavy weights’ in a camouflaged suit, early field craft skills highlighted several features that gave an object/person away -   Shape, Shine, Shadow, Silhouette, Movement and Noise............nothing like a 55 ton tank painted in green with black stripes trying to blend-in to a background of masonry, brickwork and in a street!

Two One Bravo 'Blending in'.


Up until 1983 the British Brigade in Berlin were camouflaged in the standard green/black, with the deployment of D-Squadron 4/7 Dragoon Guards the commanding officer Major Clendon Daukes started to challenge the current method of camouflaging the brigades vehicles as they always looked out of place in the urban environment. He experimented with cardboard silhouettes of the Chieftain MBT in the windows of his office, searching for suitable geometric forms to match the surrounding buildings, windows and fences. He realised a rectangular pattern would match the given background. The sizes of the colour blocks were to mimic doors, windows and other linear features found in the environment, colours were to be those that occurred within this environment – white, grey and brown. He noticed the repetition of vertical lines and by careful placement of different size squares and rectangles he was able effectively to disguise the shape of the tank.

Chieftain (I'll leave the Mk to the more knowledgable folks)
Following trials with cardboard silhouettes Major Clendon Daukes applied the scheme to one of the vehicles of his squadron, this was demonstrated to his Brigade Commander who accepted and encouraged its use, he suggested that the scheme should be demonstrated to the Corps Commander who visited Berlin to see the scheme for himself, allegedly, he said “I can’t see your F*****g tank so it must be a good idea”. Originally the scheme was only used on the vehicles of D squadron 4/7 Dragoon guards before it was ordered for all vehicles within the Brigade. Each vehicle was to be painted to the same pattern, there was a 2” margin of error allowed in the placement of the colour blocks; the same size blocks of colour and pattern would make it harder to determine the strength of the British Forces because they all looked the same.  It is often quoted that the size of the colour blocks were scaled down for smaller vehicles, this is not the case; irrespective of the size of vehicle, whether it is an MBT, APC or Land Rover, the blocks of colour are approximately eighteen inches square and were not to be scaled up or down for different vehicles.

Chieftain Berlin Brigade scheme, blending in well!

Chieftain (I'll leave the Mk to the more knowledgable folks)
Colours There are several sources claiming what the colours are, there was in the early period an effort made to match the grey colour to weathered tarmac and the brown to soil. I later years, standard colours were used to save money and time during the painting of vehicles. Light grey colours replaced the RAF blue-grey, which led to a darker appearance in vehicles which used those colours. There are some comments from veterans of the 4/7th that the white was actually ‘dirtied’ with 10% black added.
The official line from the RAC & RTR Museum Bovington are that the colours were:
White RAL 9010
Blue-grey RAL 7031
Brown RAL 8025

Dick Taylor in his excellent series of books on British Army Colours and Markings 1903-2003 states that the early colours used in 1983 were probably BS Colour Dark Admiralty Grey No 632 and Service Brown No.499

*A note for the true anoraks ;-) the Chieftains Mk.5 to Mk.10 inclusive were assigned from the parent Armoured Regiment based in West Germany, so they were supplied from that unit. As the Chieftains were upgraded throughout their service life Chieftain Mk. 5 to Mk.10 were used in Berlin, The 14/20th KRH were amongst the last units with Mk.10’s to wear the scheme. To date I have not seen a photo of a Mk.11 Chieftain wearing the Berlin Brigade camouflage scheme, standing by to see one now.
Chieftain (I'll leave the Mk to the more knowledgable folks)
FV721 Fox Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle
C- Squadron 14/20 Kings Hussars Chieftain Mk 10/c  
FV432/30 July 1992 Soltau, note the darker appearance to the camouflage. 
Land Rover in the Berlin Brigade scheme



It is certainly effective! ;-)
 More images to follow !.....

British Infantry Brigade Berlin 1/300 1/285

British Infantry Brigade Berlin 1982-1994




Above Chieftain Mk 10/c

I have a penchant for ‘odd’units/formations with the subjects I like to do, usually meaning lots of scratch building/research/head-scratching and usually extra work in the painting department just to to get a unit on the table!

I’ve always had an interest in the Berlin Brigade since seeing some grainy photos way back in the mid 80’s. The seed was planted; there would be a Berlin Brigade at some point on the table! Now 20mm would be the ideal scale, however nobody in my club was/is interested in 20mm modern at the moment and since I’m enjoying my micro at the moment I thought I would put together a Berlin Brigade force to assist my West Germans and counter my WARPAC stuff. As the Brigade is quite small it will be bulked up with some green/black stuff also.

I started these test pieces some time ago before the West Germans; however I did not finish them off before the West Germans. These are next on the table. This is a test base for the Brigade HQ. The photos are not great, I've borrowed a camera which takes a pretty poor photo considering its cost (mine is in Cuba on a charity bike ride at the moment with the better 1/2!  I will redo these when I have a spare few minutes.

Colours.

There are numerous colours suggested on the web:

Grey - Humbrol No. 27, 28 or 125 (Too dark), VMC 883 or 152, Tamiya XF55 or XF54
Brown - Humbrol 29, 186 or Gloss 10 + 133 Satin Brown, VMC 921 or 141
White - Humbrol 130/134, VMA 71087/71005, Revel No.69 etc

The official colours are:
White RAL 9010, Blue-Grey RAL 7031, Brown RAL 8025

I've gone for -

A white undercoat (aerosol, flavour of your choice)
Tamiya XF66 Lt Grey which is thinned to a thick wash consistency and applied over the entire model.
Vallejo 001 White
Humbrol 186 Brown
A thinned Mig Dark wash is applied as a 'pin wash', when dry the white blocks are highlighted where required.
Running gear is a very dark grey - black is too dark in this scale.

Ferret



 FV 432 + PEAK Engineering Turret (I know there were none deployed in the Berlin Brigade, I needed something different fo the BHQ so this was it!)





  FV 432/30 (FV 432 with the Fox turret installed)




 BHQ







Photos to be redone ASAP

Monday, 16 September 2013

West German 1/300 MBB 105 PAH 1 Attack Helicopter

A long overdue update, the West Germans are almost complete.
The final Leopard 1 Battalion is having its cam netting applied and all that remains is a Phantom and maybe a transport helicopter of some sort.

Photos of the Leopards possibly in the next 24hrs, domestic management allowing.

So the MBB 105 PAH 1 Attack Helicopters.........GHQ models, very small, they could do with the photoetched skids as per the newer models, as the cast skids are a little bulky.
Took some time to decide on how to do the rotors, there is another thread on a forum if you want before and after photos.
viewtopic.php?f=104&t=29999

At the minute I've gone for a clear disc as my usual opaque ones hide the model and there is nothing to see, more thought on how to do the discs in the future methinks.


Up against a UK 1 pound coin for scale.


Pre-rotor application (Base not finished)


Testing rotor options





Final rotor choice


Andy


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Marinefliegergeschwader 1 Tornado 1/285 scale

A small update for the West Germans, the end is in sight!

Air support in the form of of a Marinefliegergeschwader 1 Tornado - on urgent tasking for the Battle Group.

Model from GHQ, Decals - Balkenkreuz (1/600) from Doms decals, 'Marine' and fin flash a mix of home made and hand paint, Marine/anchor emblem made up from an Argentine anchor from one of the I-94 sets and a white dot from a GW Tau decal sheet.

MBB 105's up next, they are small!









Andy

Monday, 10 June 2013

Command elements for my West Germans

Small update for this WIP.
I finished these a week or so ago, unable to photograph before this morning.
The WIP continues....

Marder (Inf) Battalion HQ









1st Leopard 1 Battalion HQ with its liason/recce elements.








2nd Leopard 1 Battalion HQ (hiding in the woods).






Later

Andy
 




 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Isreali 1948 - 1979 1/300 Micro

I bashed out these a while ago, long before GHQ produced an Israeli half track.
I've made a mistake, can you spot it? It will be corrected as soon as..

Not based on any particular formation, just a great deal of choice!
Models are all based for the Cold War Commander rule set mentioned elsewhere on this site.
Models are all GHQ.

Battle Group HQ
Converted M113 and M3 to command versions.




M51 Command Element




AMX 13 Recce element.



Sh'ot Battalion (must get that fluff off the antenna!)



M51 Battalion



M48 Battalion






Infantry Battalion Command Element



M3 Mortars

 

Infantry Platoon M3



Anti-Tank M3 with SS11 (Converted)






M3 + DEFA 90mm (Converted)



TCM-20 AA Elements (Converted)



AOP's


L-33 Artillery


 
Still some seated figures and crew to add.........aircraft to follow...........
The observant will notice a lack of 1948 stuff.....its coming....:-)
Andy